Breaking Bad Season Four, Episode 8 – Hermanos
Directed by Johan Renck
Written by Sam Catlin and George Mastras
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks, Steven Bauer, James Martinez, and Michael Sheets
Sangre por sangre.
Relationships have always been an important component of Breaking Bad, but a key aspect of these relationships are the blood ties that have formed over the course of the show. For good or for worse, our characters have formed connections due to the circumstances they find themselves caught in.
“Hermanos” is an episode that illustrates the full extent of these ties and the dangers that they can lead to.
Note: From here on out we’ll have to go full-on spoilers for this episode. You’ve been warned.
Hank and Walter’s blood ties are the most obvious due to their status as brother-in-laws, but Hank takes full advantage of this to play Walter against the fearsome chicken man. Even after a stoic Gus Fring derails his investigation, Hank continues to hunt his obsession with the man. Walter has reluctantly become Hank’s new partner and the pressure from this blood tie flows over into another one of Walter’s connections.
While Walt and Hank probably had little to say in the origins of their tie, that relationship led directly to the formation of Walt and Jesse’s tie. Since that day Walter saw Jesse fleeing from a DEA raid, their tie has been challenged. Yet, it hasn’t been pushed to the limits like it has in this season. Walt is losing loyalty from his partner while Gus is gaining it. This episode sees that rift grow larger as Walter continues to place pressure on Jesse to follow through on killing Gus. Walter knows the clock is ticking. Time isn’t on their side and soon Jesse will be forced make a choice that could lead to dangerous results.
Yet, the most important blood tie relates to the origins of Gus. We know much of how the hardened mastermind operates now, but “Hermanos” provided us with context for his quiet rage. Motivated by revenge, Gus used Walter and Hank to systematically destroy the cartel. I’m sure it was a good business decision, but the true logic was seeded in making the cartel pay for their transgressions. The opening moments hinted at a less than happy end for someone and as soon as the meeting at the pool began, I knew Max wouldn’t make it out alive. It’s a tragic scene that hits home due to its familial nature. The last act builds tension in a way that only Breaking Bad can. I hope the show provides more backstory on how Gus moved from that scared man by the pool to the chicken man who doesn’t bat an eye while under pressure from the DEA’s best.
Much like this entire season, “Hermanos” continues to lay a foundation for a definite boiling point. Elements are beginning to collide faster than expected and once in place, the results will be catastrophic for all.
– Don’t know if I was the only one, but did any one get the sense that Gus and Max are actual partners? Like, life partners? It’s not something that’s clear cut, but I think there’s a good argument to be made and hopefully this aspect will be explored more in the future.
– I also think that Walter didn’t get the news he wanted during his cancer appointment. If I understand things correctly, regardless of the fact he’s in remission, Walter’s cancer will kill him in two years. We’re a little past the year mark now. He’s running out of time and with this possible bad news, he may have even less time than we originally believed.
– Loved how the entire last act was entirely in Spanish. I also believe that the image of Max’s death has to be one of the more haunting moments from the series.
– If “Box Cutter” wasn’t enough evidence to convince you that Giancarlo Esposito should be nominated for an Emmy, this episode should do a fine job of proving that you were wrong to doubt his acting
– I’m still not sure who or what exactly the cartel wants, but if it isn’t Walter, I’ve got a feeling it’s probably Hector.
– “Stick to chicken.”
What did you think of “Hermanos?” Sound off in our comments below!